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Rockets notch up 4-3 victory at Warriors' den

  • January 07, 2017
  • PBL Media Team
Rockets notch up 4-3 victory at Warriors' den

Mumbai Rockets managed to pip Awadhe Warriors by virtue of a 4-3 score line in the eighth match of the Vodafone Premier Badminton League played at Lucknow on Friday evening. Awadhe Warriors, though, stayed on top of the table even after that result.


Match 1: Goh W Shem/Markis Kido (AWA) vs Lee Yong Dae/Nipithphon P. (MUM)

The first match of the evening witnessed the men’s doubles take place as Awadhe’s Shem and Kido teamed up against Lee and Nipithphon of Mumbai.

Lee and Nipithphon started the game on the front foot and hardly made any mistakes to take a healthy 6-2 lead into the break in the first game. Although the pair from Awadhe put up a bit of resistance after the break, Mumbai’s duo was too strong and put on a convincing show to land the first game 11-7. However, Shem and Kido made a strong return in the second game and it was their turn to lead 6-2 at the break. They never looked back after the half and dominated proceedings, using deceptions to good effect and dropped just one point thereon as they easily took the second set 11-3. Mumbai themselves came back strongly in the deciding game and both Lee and Nipithphon hit some strong smashes to take a 6-3 lead into the break. However, Shem and Kido were not giving up and played some scintillating badminton to put up a strong comeback. They won a 66-shot rally to win their seventh point in the game as the match hung in the balance. Both teams saved a match point each in the game before Lee and Nipithphon converted their second one to seal the game and match at 13-11 to hand Mumbai the first point of the night.

Result: Lee/Nipithphon (MUM) beat Shem/Kido (AWA) 11-7, 3-11, 13-11

Match 2: Kidambi Srikanth (AWD) vs Ajay Jayaram (MUM)

Awadhe Warriors' Kidambi Srikanth took on Mumbai Rockets' Ajay Jayaram in the second match. Srikanth did start as favourite and he promptly flew to a 3-0 lead. Jayaram fought back to level 5-5 as Srikanth won the next point to carry a slender lead at the interval. The Guntur-lad then stepped on the accelerator, winning six straight points to seize the first set 11-5. The former world number 3 looked unstoppable as he powered to a 5-0 lead, with some terrific smashes, crafty drops and excellent court coverage.

But, similar to the first game, Jayaram was able to claw back much to everyone's surprise thanks mainly to Srikanth's errors. Srikanth led 6-5 at the break and then a marathon rally of 42 shots ended in Jayaram's favour as the latter led for the first time in the match at 8-7. Both players squandered leads as the momentum swung back and forth. With the match evenly poised at 14-all, Srikanth served a service fault to bring an anticlimactic end to a thrilling second game pocketed by Jayaram.

The final game broke from the norms set in the first two as Jayaram raised his game to climb to a 6-3 lead at the break. The Mumbai boy exhibited great patience and determination to come back into the match as Srikanth lost his way. The home crowd was stunned as Jayram completed a brilliant comeback to win the decider 11-5.

Result: Ajay Jayaram (MUM) beat Kidambi Srikanth (AWD) 5-11, 15-14, 11-5

Match 3: Saina Nehwal (AWA) vs Sung Ji Hyun (MUM)

The third match of the evening witnessed the women’s singles and was the Vodafone Super Match as Awadhe’s Saina Nehwal went head-to-head against world number three Sung Ji Hyun of Mumbai.

The players went toe-to-toe in the first game but Sung Ji Hyun used her deceptions well and played some witty badminton to win some crucial points and take a slender 6-5 advantage into the break. However, Saina played some great badminton under pressure and although again there was hardly anything to choose between the two, Awadhe’s marquee player showed nerves of steel to win the crucial points and take the first game 12-10. Sung returned with more determination in the second game and played some good all-round badminton to go into the break with a healthy 6-2 advantage. She continued with her dominance after the break and won the second game in the blink of an eye by an 11-4 scoreline. Sung Ji Hyun surprisingly made some costly errors going into the deciding game as she handed Saina a 6-3 lead. After the break, Saina with a combination of some intelligent play and amazing court-coverage literally ran away with the game after the break, clinching it 11-5 and handing Awadhe their first point of the night.

Result: Saina Nehwal (AWA) beat Sung Ji Hyun (MUM) 12-10 4-11 11-5

Match 4: Vincent Wong Wing Ki (AWD) vs HS Prannoy (MUM)

The first Trump match of the evening was called by Mumbai Rockets who had HS Prannoy taking on Awadhe Warriors' Vincent Wong Wing Ki. Prannoy didn't start well as Ki strode to 4-0 and then a 6-2 lead at the break. With Prannoy down at 4-8, he won an intriguing battle at the net which spurred the Rockets' man to level the score at 8-8. The brilliant Prannoy then saved four game points and clinched the first game 14-12 with a cross-court smash.

Prannoy began the second game well going into a 3-1 lead but it was Ki who led at the interval 6-5. The Kerala native fought back again to level at 8-8 but this time, Ki snatched the second game 11-9. In the deciding third game, Ki built a 5-2 lead and won a stunning rally to hold on for a 6-5 lead at the break. Ultimately, it was the Kerala man's excellent temperament and exemplary net-play that spurred him to a fighting 11-8 victory. It gave the visitors two points and an unassailable 4-1 lead going into the final match.

Result: HS Prannoy(MUM) beat Vincent Wong Wing Ki(AWD) 14-12, 9-11, 11-8

Match 5: Savitree Amitrapai/Bodin Isara (AWA) vs Nipithphon P./Nadiezda Zieba (MUM)

The tie culminated with the mixed doubles event as Awadhe’s Savitree Amitrapai and Bodin Isara teamed up against Mumbai’s Nipithphon P. and Nadiezda Zieba. The Warriors called for a trump in this match.

Nipithphon and Zieba started well and won more crucial points as they took a slender 6-5 advantage going into the break during the first game. However, Savitree with her experience at the net and Bodin with his powerful shots, overturned the deficit and took the first game 11-8. Some more good net play from the Awadhe pair in the second game saw them take a 6-3 lead into the half and they easily killed off the game after the break to take the game 11-4 although, Awadhe lost the tie on the night at 3-4.

Result: Amitrapai/Isara (AWA) beat Nipithphon/Zieba (MUM) 11-8 11-4

Match Result: Mumbai Rockets beat Awadhe Warriors 4-3